The most striking stories shared during my Art Place residency were always followed by the words: and that’s all I’m going to say about it.
Wait, what stories, you may be asking? I’ve been rambling on about how I engaged the participants at the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre, but now let’s talk about their stories! I didn’t always get the whole story, usually they’d just share a few details, but there are some I’ll never forget!
Snippets, for your delight:
“I didn’t know everyone would be naked on the boat. I really didn’t. But, when in Rome… and that’s all I’ll say about that!”
“We walked by that park every day. Then, one day, someone shot a bunch of children who had just been playing. I saw it. It was my job then to deal with stuff like that. I’ll never forget it.”
“My daughter died. It was fast. Cancer, you know. It doesn’t pick and choose. I still miss her. I still want to call her.”
“My mom used to tell my dad to go sit on an apple when he was being silly. I thought it was funny until I accidentally sat on an apple. It hurt!”
“My brother was the best man I ever knew. He helped kids, and the homeless. He was hit by a car. Wasn’t that old. Didn’t make sense. Almost stopped believing in God then.”
“I worked on ships for a long time. The worst thing is losing track of days, working in the hull all day, with the big, loud engines. I can still hear them ringing in my ears, some days.”
“I used to dance. I remember what it felt like. I miss it. More than I miss walking.”
“No, seriously, the people were all naked! What do you mean you don’t believe me? What about that naked beach you told me about?”
“My mom died when I was young. I was the eldest. I quit school and went to work. I liked working. I liked helping. But I missed learning, too. Now, I read a book every couple of days!”
“My grandmother told me, on my wedding day, to take care of my husband. He was a good man, but became paralyzed at 40 because of a growth on his spine. I remembered by grandmother’s words, and took care of him for another 40 years, before he passed away. I’m glad I did. I still miss him. He was so strong…I missed him from before the paralysis, mostly, if I’m honest. But I miss him still.”
“I’m glad I ate lizard that one time. It was a tiny thing. Stringy. All bones and flesh. But I can say I did it. It tasted like chicken.”
… and that’s all I’ll say about that!
Visit Marie Bilodeau’s artist page for interviews and blogs about her arts project with the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre. Follow ArtPlace on Facebook and Twitter for updates about what our other 2016-2017 Art Place artists are doing.